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Mucoepidermoid carcinoma is a type of cancer of the salivary glands. Salivary gland cancer is diagnosed in 2-3 individuals per 100,000 people each year, and 30-35% of these are mucoepidermoid carcinomas. Mucoepidermoid carcinoma develops when a cell randomly acquires changes (mutations) in genes that regulate how the cell divides such that it begins to grow quickly, forming a cluster of cells (a mass or lump). The earliest signs of a mucoepidermoid carcinoma may include a lump in the face, neck, or mouth; numbness, weakness, or pain in part of the face; or difficulty swallowing. Treatment often begins with surgery to remove the entire tumor. In some cases, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy may be used after surgery to ensure that no cancer cells remain in the body.
Source: GARD Last updated on 05-01-20
Low-grade MEC tends to have an excellent prognosis, although recurrence of the disease is possible. One early study from 1995 of a small number of patients (48 people) suggested a survival rate of 100% for patients with low grade MEC of the salivary glands. The median follow-up period for these patients was fifteen years. A later and larger study (125 patients) from 2012 suggested that low- and intermediate-grade MECs uniformly showed a favorable prognosis. In this study, the overall survival rate for patients with low-grade MEC was 92.8% and the disease- free survival rate for these patients was 88.3%. The median follow-up period in this study was about five years (with a range from 2-31 years). This information on prognosis is supported by a much larger study performed in 2014 involving a database of 2400 patients with MEC of the salivary glands. Results from this study indicate that the five year disease free survival rate for patients with low-grade MEC of the salivary glands is 98.8%. Factors indicating that patients will go on to have a poor prognosis include: high grade, increasing patient age, larger tumor size, metastasis to the lymph nodes, and distant metastasis. Thus, having a low grade MEC and being of a younger age are two factors associated with a more favorable prognosis.
Last updated on 05-01-20
Mucoepidermoid carcinoma, or cancer of the salivary gland, is a "genetic" disease in the sense that it occurs due to changes (mutations) in genes that regulate how cells in the body divide. However, mucoepidermoid carcinoma is not inherited from a parent or passed down through a family.
Last updated on 05-01-20
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